Saturday, May 30, 2009

Fried calamari with lemon aioli

I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient. The host this month is Wandering Chopsticks. If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.

When I learned lemon was the ingredient for this month's challenge, my thoughts immediately turned towards desserts. I was thinking of napoleons with lemon curd, or something else with lemons and strawberries. But everything that I considered called more for baking than using the wok. I don't recall reading anything in the rules that says a wok must be used, but it did seem it would go against the spirit of the challenge to totally ignore the wok. So I had to rethink things.

Call it squid, calamari, muc, or cumi-cumi, I love it quickly fried and served with a simple sauce. Lemon ailoi with slivers of kaffir lime leaf is a perfect complement to the fried squid. There is the temptation to add too much of the lime leaf, but I think it works best when it is a background note rather than front and center.

Fried Calamari with Lemon Aioli

Clean the squid, separate bodies from tentacles; slice bodies into rings.
Marinate for 15 minutes in a little fish sauce, minced garlic, and black pepper
Dredge drained squid in mixture of cornstarch and rice flour.
Fry briefly (about 30 seconds) in hot oil. Serve with the lemon aioli.

Lemon Aioli

2 egg yolks
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup olive oil
4 tsps lemon juice, or to taste
3 kaffir lime leaves, center vein removed, finely sliced
salt to taste

In blender or food processor, blend yolks, lemon juice, and garlic. With the machine running, slowly add olive oil in a steady stream. Add salt to taste and fold in slivered lime leaves.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Baker's Challenge--Strudel

I'm sure I would have never seriously contemplated starting a blog if it hadn't been for the Daring Baker's Challenge. I came across some photos from some previous challenge one day while skimming through some blogs and decided I'd like to try my hand at that. In reading the lengthy guidelines for joining The Daring Bakers, I discovered it was preferred that members have a blog. Ok, I thought, I'll just start a blog. Easy, right? Ha!

While I knew that putting a blog together took a lot more work than a casual reader might expect, I didn't realize how much pressure I would feel to update the blog. I thought a few posts a month would be fine. Once the blog was up though, I felt an almost immediate need for new content--the old "nature abhors a vacuum" phenomenon. And there's the pressure (self-imposed as it is) to come up with something fresh and photogenic. Indeed, I find the photography to be the greatest challenge to the blog, trying to think when I might make something to take greatest advantage of the natural light, looking for an appropriate background, and imagining how best to present it.

All of which brings us to the challenge, my first. Although I would say I'm a competent baker, I rarely bake. My wife, who grew up in Indonesia, doesn't really have a taste for the same baked goods that I enjoy. Her idea of a good loaf of bread is Wonderbread; she doesn't care for a really good crust or toothsome crumb. She also has no real affinity for pies, cakes, or cookies. All of which is probably good, for I would be even fatter than I am now were I to bake more often. Her disdain for apple pie is perhaps the one qualm the rest of my family has about her, so I knew the apple strudel was not going to be a hit with her. Still, the challenge has rules and I was determined to follow them.

The dough for the strudel was incredibly easy to work with. I don't have a stand mixer, so simply mixed it by hand and had no problems whatsoever. Stretching the dough took some patience, and I found it easier to use a rolling pin to aid the process; ideally, this would probably best be done with a partner. The rest of the strudel making process was really straightforward. Spread, sprinkle, fill, roll, and then bake. I prefer Mom's apple pie, but the strudel seemed to be a hit with the office staff at school.

The savory strudel was more to my wife's liking. For this I used a filling of spinach, olives, sun dried tomatoes, and cotija cheese (a Mexican cheese that is similar to ricotta salata). I added walnuts to the bread crumbs that are spread atop the dough before encasing the filling and used olive oil instead of butter. It turned out quite well, enough so that I would definitely make it again.

I would like to thank Linda and Courtney for presenting such an interesting challenge.

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)

1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature. It is best on the day it is baked.

Strudel dough
from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tis the season

Fava season is fleeting here in northern California. The pods appear one weekend at the farmers markets late in April and then suddenly vanish in May. There's a period of about three weeks when a number of farmers have great mounds of the pods on their tables. The next week one or two farmers have them and then they are gone. I always start thinking about favas right before they disappear. Some years I miss out on them altogether because I simply didn't have them in my consciousness in time. I'll see them and think, "oh yeah, fava season, I should do something with those, maybe next week," and next week they are not to be found. This year I caught myself in time.

To make the bruschetta, shell the favas, then steam for three minutes to remove the hull (not necessary if beans are small). The favas should be al dente, steam longer if necessary, then mash with zest of a lemon, lemon juice, one clove of garlic, cotija cheese (or ricotta salata), olive oil, and sea salt to taste. Grill baguette slices sprinkled with olive oil. Rub a cut clove of garlic on the grilled slices, then top with fava mash. Serve and enjoy.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


It always amuses me, in a dark way, when I hear groans and laments in the news about the difficulty in attracting qualified people to the teaching profession. It is a lament that is repeated every few years, coincidentally following periods of layoffs and cutbacks in the schools. California is currently experiencing an economic meltdown that is going to result in a lot of fine teachers losing their jobs. Teachers who have spent years earning their credentials and attending professional growth classes are being told thanks, but we can't afford you. While a budget that passed in February cut $8.6 billion from education and called for an increase in higher education tuition, it made no cuts to the state prison budget and granted $700 million in tax breaks to corporations. With the recent rejection of temporary budget fixes (including a regressive sales tax) by voters, education is likely to face more cuts. So expect to hear a slew of news stories two years from now lamenting schools inability to attract qualified teachers.

For now, my job is probably safe. I'm one of a select few who have full-time teaching positions in adult education. Adult education is the ugly step-child of public education and recent changes have made it easier for the K-12 system to shift funds from adult education programs to K-12. Within adult education, ESL is at the bottom rung, immigrants who have no vote, no voice. While on the freeway recently, I was behind a pickup that had this bumpersticker pasted on the window of its cab--"Speak English or Get the Fuck Out!" All I could think was I wish these people who complain about immigrants not speaking English would complain that more classes are needed rather than fewer. My feeling is "provide opportunities to learn English or shut the fuck up!"

Sorry. This is supposed to be a blog about eating and drinking--makan dan minum. I'll cut back on the ngobrol--talk. I actually wanted to share one of the pleasures I get from teaching--the class potluck. This is not just an opportunity for me to enjoy a variety of delicious dishes from around the world; it is a great chance for the students to share their foods with their classmates, most of whom have never tasted foods from other cultures (except pizza and Chinese takeout). The students have to say what is in each dish and how it is eaten. At higher levels I may make them include a recipe; at the literacy level (which this class is) I don't ask for much beyond the ingredients. It is great to see people from totally different cultures enjoy and ask about each others dishes, to see, for example, a fundamentalist Baptist from Uzbekistan ask a Buddhist nun from Hue how to use chopsticks. In learning English, the students are not just learning the language, but learning to respect and enjoy the different cultures that make up this country. The pictures don't really do justice to the dishes the students brought.

Blinchiki by Svetlana from Uzbekistan. Inside there's jam and nuts.

Bun Chay and Dau Hu Xao Xa Ot by Anh Duong from Hue. Vegetarian bun and lemongrass tofu--a hit with all the class.

Glutinous Rice Flour Palm Sugar Center Coconut Balls and Khao Soi curry soup by Mai Yia and Khou, Hmong from Thailand
Golubsi--Cabbage Rolls by Mariya from Moldova
Okroshka by Lidiya from Russia--a cold kefir soup with cucumbers, potatoes and other vegetables

Shrimp Fried Rice by Cai Yin and Shrimp and Eggs by Liandai from China
Banitza by Feodora from Moldova--Cheese and egg filled filo
Tamales by Sonia from Mexico--Chicken, Cheese and Chiles, and Pork
Plov by Boris from Uzbekistan
Goi Sen by Fanny from Vietnam--as delicious as it was beautiful.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Pepes Tempe (Tempeh paste steamed and grilled in banana leaves)

With all the recent posts on tempeh, you'd think I was vegan or something. Not that there's anything wrong with that. However, I like meat. Fish, flesh, and fowl. And I like butter, eggs, and a gamut of dairy products. It's just that I also really like tempeh (and tofu) and have had some in that had to be used up, so I've posted about that.

I generally prefer my tempeh fried. Thick or thin, marinated in garlic, salt, and water or plain, dipped in batter or naked, I like fried tempeh. Frying transforms the tempeh into a nut-like substance. The texture and taste of fried tempeh makes it the perfect side to an Indonesian meal.

In Indonesia there is a large variety of pepes, packets of steamed, then grilled pastes or meats that have been rolled in banana leaves. Banana leaves are an essentially free resource for packaging the pastes, and steaming the packages before grilling them makes them relatively easy to prepare in advance and grill at the last minute for the vendors who sell them. Chicken, fish, shrimp, tofu, and mushrooms are some of the common fillings for pepes.

The recipe I followed was adapted from The Book of Tempeh. Don't worry about the banana leaves getting burnt; they are wrapped in two pieces of banana leaf ensuring the paste gets grilled without burning.

Pepes Tempe

11 shallots
1 tsp sambal oelek
1 small red bell pepper
13 kemiri (candlenuts), available in Asian markets
15 ounces of tempeh, cut in 3/4 inch cubes
1/4 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup to 1 cup kemangi leaves (lemon basil, may use Thai basil I suppose)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp dark brown or palm sugar

1 package of banana leaves (available in freezer of most Asian markets)

Process shallots, sambal oelek, pepper and kemiri to a paste in a food processor. Add remaining ingredients and pulse briefly to combine.

Pour boiling water over the banana leaves to clean and soften them. Cut leaves in 10 nine-inch squares and 10 four-inch squares.

Center a small square of banana leaf on a larger square of leaf. Place about a half cup of the paste in an oval on the small square. Roll up the leaves together and secure with toothpicks on both ends. The sausage shaped package should be about an inch thick. Steam the packets for 10 minutes, and then grill for another ten minutes until the banana leaves are charred. Serve in the leaves. Have something handy to discard the leaves as the packages are opened.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Kripik Tempe -- Tempeh Crisps

Having made some tempeh, I now need to use it. Tempeh is something that doesn't have a real long shelf life. Perhaps if you vacuum packed it, it might last for some time in the refrigerator. Of course, you could always freeze it, but if you go to the trouble of making your own tempeh it seems to me that you might as well eat it fresh. It is good simply marinated in a little garlic, coriander, salt and water for fifteen minutes or so and then fried. Frying brings out its nuttiness and makes it an excellent addition to gado gado.

Seeing how it is the weekend and the heat has finally arrived in the valley with temperatures approaching 100º F, I decided to make some kripik tempe. These are a perfect accompaniment to a gin and tonic, margarita, mojito, or the drink of your choice. They have the lusciousness of being fried, yet they are high protein and high fiber. Like all things fried, they are best when still hot from the fryer, but they still taste good when they are served at room temperature.

When I lived in Jakarta, I used to buy these and fried tofu from a man with a pushcart fryer at the end of my lane and take them back to my house to enjoy with my evening drink while listening to the call to prayer. There was a small mosque at the end of the street and its loudspeakers always let me know when it was time to pray. Inasmuch as I've never had much reverence for any religion, I always found it very satisfying to indulge in my vices while others more virtuous than I performed their religious duty. Try these and you may be closer to understanding William James' The Variety of Religious Experience.

Kripik Tempe
1 block of tempeh, sliced no thicker than 1/8 inch
1/2 cup rice flour
1/2 cup coconut milk (or water)
1/2 tsp coriander, ground
1 clove of garlic, ground in a mortar to a paste
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp salt
4 kaffir lime leaves, thick center vein removed, thinly sliced
oil for frying

Dry the slices of tempeh in the sun for fifteen to 30 minutes. Make a thin batter of the remaining ingredients. Dip the tempeh into the batter and drop in hot oil (360º). Fry until golden brown. Drain. Serve with your favorite drink.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tempeh Kering

Ok, you've made your tempeh, now what? One dish that is popular with the Javanese is tempeh kering--a sweet/savory dish that is like eating sticky, spicy candied pecans. Besides tempeh and laos (galingal--a relative to ginger that is used in a lot of Indonesian and Thai dishes), tempeh kering has chilies, shallots, garlic and tamarind, along with a load of palm sugar. By itself it would probably be too sweet for most palates, but it is a very pleasing complement to other Indonesian dishes. The central Javanese are known to have a particular fondness for sweet dishes, and this is a dish that one can readily find at rumah makans in Central Java.

Tempeh Kering
Approximately 14 ounces of tempeh (one block of the homemade tempeh), sliced into pieces 2" x 3/4" x 1/3"
2 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
2--4 shallots, thinly sliced (shallots in Asian markets tend to be smaller)
1 TBS tamarind concentrate in 1/2 cup water
4 red chilies thinly sliced
5--9 TBS gula jawa (palm sugar), you can substitute dark brown sugar, but it's not quite the same
3--4 quarter size slices of laos (galingal)
several daun salam (salam leaves)
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
oil for frying

Fry the tempeh slices in several batches. Each batch takes about 3 minutes or so. Make sure the oil isn't too hot or you'll burn the outside of the tempeh while the inside will remain soft. You want a uniform crispness. Drain and set aside

Pour off most of the oil. Fry garlic and shallots over low heat until softened but not browned.

Add chilies and sugar. Fry until sugar is melted. (Gula Jawa is sold in cylindrical
packages. Although it is solid, it should still be soft and fairly easy to slice into coins. I didn't have any gula jawa in when making this recipe and used Mexican palm sugar, piloncillo, which is much harder. I dissolved this in the water for the tamarind in the microwave and then added to the chilie, shallot mixture.)

Add tamarind water, laos slices, daun salam and salt. Reduce the liquid until it is syrupy and fold in the fried tempeh. Serve with rice and other dishes.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Until I first went to Java in 1983, I had never tasted tempeh. I hadn't even heard of it. I had eaten tahu (tofu) of course, and even cooked with it at times, but tempeh was a totally new experience for me.

I can't recall the first time I had it. I'm sure it was probably while I was dining at the company mess (dining hall), as a part of nasi rames. In Java tempeh finds its way into meals the way potatoes do here in the US. It may be fried or boiled in sauce, with vegetables, meat, or by itself, but it almost always finds itself somewhere on the table. And that is a good thing.

Tempeh is the Barry Bonds of soy products, but you don't have to worry about any asterisk next to its stats. It is legit. Tempeh is 20% protein by weight, the same as steak, and two and a half times as much as tofu. Sometimes disparaged by the shopping mall middle class of Jakarta as poor people's fodder, tempeh is elemental and worthy of reverence. Ironically, while it is considered poor people's food in Indonesia, here in the US it can cost as much as an Angus ribeye. In local Asian markets thin blocks of it can sometimes be found in the freezer section. Whole Foods and the local co-op sell it fresh--plain, Cajun spiced, and terriyaki flavor among the varieties offered--but these too are in small, thin eight to twelve ounce packages. While I'm sure many of these taste fine once they are fried or sauced, none taste to me as tempeh should. Good tempeh--to my taste--should be almost like a ripened cheese. There should be a sweet nuttiness to a raw slice of it.

The process of making your own tempeh is time consuming, but not difficult. If you're planning on having tempeh for dinner tonight, you better head over to your local organic foods store to pick up a slab now. Tempeh making follows the rhythm of Javanese gamelan, slow, repetitive, rather than the more frenetic gamelan of Bali. Plan ahead and you will enjoy a treat akin to a fine artisanal cheese. Once you have successfully made your own tempeh, store bought will seem like Wonder Bread.

The bible for tempeh and tempeh making is The Book of Tempeh, by Shurtleff and Aoyagi. It is truly a phenomenal book in its clarity and abundance of information related to tempeh. I can't say that I've tried many of the western recipes in the book, but the Indonesian ones (approximately 70) are authentic with very clear instructions. The directions for actually making tempeh at home are also very clear and easy to follow. The directions I am providing are simply a condensed version from the book. Anyone who enjoys tempeh should really get the book.

Homemade Tempeh

1 pound of dried soy beans
15 cups water, divided
1 TBS rice vinegar

Tempeh starter (choose one)
1 tsp extended spore-powder
1/4 tsp spore-powder mixture (I use this, but am able to get it from family in Indonesia)
1/2 tsp meal-texture starter
2 ounces fresh tempeh

2 quart size plastic bags, perforated with a toothpick every 1/2 inch or so, puncturing both sides of the bags

Bring soybeans and 7 1/2 cups of water to boil in medium pot. As soon as water comes to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 12 hours or so.

Pour off the water from the pot, then rub soybeans between hands to remove hulls. This takes quite a bit of time. You want to remove as many hulls as possible. Fill the pot with water and float off the hulls as best you can. This will probably take a good fifteen--twenty minutes and several pots of water.

When you've removed as many hulls as possible (or until you've decided enough is enough), add the remaining 7 1/2 cups of water along with the vinegar to the soybeans in the pot. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered at an active boil for about 30 minutes.

Drain the cooked soybeans in a colander and spread on a paper towel-lined baking pan. Let cool to about body temperature, blotting dry with paper towels (or use a fan to speed the process as I did the other day when I realized I was otherwise going to be late for class).

Sprinkle your starter over the cooled beans and mix well.

Place the beans in the perforated bags. I like a thickness of an inch to an inch and a half. Place the bags in a stable, moderately warm environment (the book explains how to make an incubator--I just place them inside my oven, but don't forget they're there) and wait.

Shurtleff and Aoyagi say it will take about 22 to 28 hours at 86º to 88º F. I find that it takes 48 hours or more in my oven (where the temperature is probably around 70º or so most of the year). As the tempeh blooms, it begins to generate its own heat, so the temperature in the oven actually does get into the mid to high eighties. I would recommend some sort of incubator if you live in an area where temperatures are more extreme.

When the tempeh is completely covered by a soft white blanket of mold, it is ready. The brick of tempeh will be warm to the touch and there will be beads of moisture in the bags. Slice a piece from the slab and you should find each bean is cocooned in a pillowy cloud of the white mold. Try a slice or two raw, alone or paired with a slice of apple, and you will begin to understand why tempeh is so popular with the Javanese.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Silk Road Cumin Beef Sprouts

I'm submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks to celebrate the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient. The host this month is Kits Chow. If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check who's hosting next month.

My favorite sprout dishes are probably tahu telor or banh xeo. In both those the sprouts add texture and lighten the density of the dishes. They are counterpoints, foils, to the dishes rather than central to them. Each dish would be diminished without them, yet they are not the focal point of the dish. For my first Weekend Wokking event, I wanted to come up with a recipe that more fully featured the sprout.

One of the benefits of being an ESL teacher is the occasional potluck party. Having students from as many as fifteen different countries in one class, I get to taste dishes from all over the world. One of the drawbacks of being the teacher is that I can't pass up the Shuba (a herring and beet salad loaded with mayonnaise) for shrimp ceviche without hurting some student's feelings. In recent years the area has become to a large number of ethnic Russian immigrants from the "Stans"--Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. There are several dishes from these countries I always look forward to, my favorite being plov. Plov is a rice dish from Uzbekistan featuring beef or lamb, carrots, onions, and cumin. The cumin-carrot connection brings a wonderful freshness to this dish. As I am also fond of Xinjiang beef with cumin, I decided to try to incorporate the flavors of plov in a southwestern (China) stir fry. Xinjiang borders Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan and so it's natural their food would share an affinity. The robustness of soybean sprouts make them a better choice for this dish than the more common mung bean sprouts.

Silk Road Cumin Beef Sprouts

1 TBS shaoxing wine
2 tsp dark soy sauce
1 TBS tapioca starch
1/2 tsp salt

3/4 lb flank steak, sliced thin
1/2 lb carrots, sliced thin
3/4 lb soybean sprouts, hairy roots pinched off
1 onion, sliced (I used a red onion because that's what I had in)
2 tsp slivered ginger
1 TBS chopped garlic
2 tsp ground chili flakes
4--6 dried red peppers
1 TBS cumin seed, ground
2 green onions, finely sliced
salt to taste
1 tsp sesame oil

Marinate the beef for half an hour or so. Drain and oil blanch the beef briefly in peanut oil heated to around 275ºF. Drain beef and pour off most of the oil, reserving perhaps 3 tablespoons.

Heat wok over a high flame. Add ginger, garlic, chilies and cumin. As soon as you can smell the spices, add carrots and chow briefly. Next add onions and cook for thirty seconds or so. Then add drained beef and sprouts. Stir and cook just until sprouts are fully incorporated. Add salt to taste and sprinkle in green onions. After removing from heat, stir in the sesame oil and serve.